Preorder MTG The Lost Caverns of Ixalan today!
   Sign In
Create Account

Tims and Dinosaurs in Commander


Hello awesome folks! I hope that your day is going incredibly well! Today we are going to be building around one of the new legendary dorks that debuted with a Secret Lair, the newer version for you with friends forever, and we are going in a very different direction.

Who am I building around?

Elmar, Ulvenwald Informant

I am building around this Gruul-colored haster that lets you untap a creature when you cast your second spell each turn and investigate. I am building this deck in a very different direction than others online. As the other friends forever don't play into the direction that I want to run, then I am just playing him solo, but you can certainly add another color or two if you like the central idea and wanted to flesh it out.

What classic combo that was played heavily at the kitchen table in the early days and debuted both sides in the first set?

Prodigal Sorcerer

This combo! The Sorcerer was a classic card that could tap and deal a damage to any target. It was heavily reprinted in other versions like Zuran Spellcaster. It was nicknamed "Tim" since the debuted version had art that looked that character from a Monty Python film. Then the ability to tap and deal a damage was called "Tims." There were three total Tims in the first set, the Sorcerer was joined with Pirate Ship and the colorless Rod of Ruin. Then you tap your Tims and shoot your Fungus Dinosaur for a damage and you'd grow it by a +1/+1 counter over time to be a game winning threat.

Tims were colorshifted to Red during the Time Spiral block with Prodigal Pyromancer and have been ever since. The benefit of digging deeply into Tims is that they can just be used to tap and shoot opposing one toughness dorks like Birds of Paradise and Zulaport Cutthroat and Esper Sentinel. They can combine to wipe out two toughness dorks like Mulldrifter and Karmic Guide and Ravenous Chupacabra. The Tim half of the combo plays well with the opponent's board.

Ready for a deep dive into this core concept? I got you!


Staff of Nin

Did you know that you can find a Tim in the artifact category that doesn't require mana to tap unlike Rod of Ruin and can draw you a card each turn? Nice, right? Enter this Staff. Sure, it's a bit pricy at 6 mana, but a Tim tethered to a card draw effect is worth that price of admission. I use this a lot!

Brash Taunter
Kumano, Master Yamabushi

Check out this pair. You can tap the Taunter and three mana, just like Rod of Ruin, and fight a creature, target something you control to ping it for one and you'll suck up that fight damage with the indestructible. Kumano is also a 5-drop this time and a solid 4/4. You can spend two mana over and over again to shoot a dork for a damage and if it dies it gets exiled, so you can answer opposing dorks with recursion needs. You can do it on your foe's dork about to get Murdered to exile it, and your foe can Murder your stuff to exile it when you target it for a damage with Kumano to trigger it. That's fine as we have no reanimation here. That's why I am running Scavenger Grounds.

Next check out Syr Carah, the Bold! When she would deal damage to a player, you can exile the top card of your library and play it this turn, so she can be card flow as well as a Tim for your triggers as well as creature removal.

Chandra, Heart of Fire
Chandra, the Firebrand

We are running two planeswalkers in this brew, both versions of Chandra. Her Heart of Fire version is a five mana, five loyalty dork that can +1 to discard your hand and then exile the top three cards of your library, and you can play them. That's fine. But she's here for that other +1 to Shock any target, like, say, your stuff, or join your other Tims to bring down something bigger or shoot a foe for two if you have nothing left. The Firebrand iteration of Chandra is 4 mana for a 3 loyalty that is usually played in big spell decks since her -2 can be used to Fork an instant or sorcery you cast. She's here for that +1 to ping any target for a damage, which is a Tim on a planeswalker which can copy your 16 spells like Chaos Warp or Cultivate or Harmonize, although we don't have that many.

Let's leave behind our Tims.

Dinosaurs and Other Targets; Game-Winners!

Sporeweb Weaver
Hornet Nest

Check out these two non-Dinosaur options. With 4 toughness that's three triggers per turn on the Weaver, while the second choice is a 0/2 defender that can make that many 1/1 Insect flyers with deathtouch that can swing over the skies or stand back and hold the line and trade up if people swing your way. This really works well with one ping per turn, and I love doing that after you are attacked to make a blocker out of nowhere that can trade with whatever attacked you and thought you were open. Good pair of token making fun times! I tossed in token maker Overgrown Armasaur.

Vrondiss, Rage of Ancients

Check out these two with enrage. The Dinosaur is a very expensive vanilla 6/6 that costs 8 mana, but when it's pinged it creates a copy of itself, which means you can make a ton of 6/6 Dinosaurs and if one or a few are answered or die in combat you can keep on making a bunch of them. Good stuff! The Dragon is a 5-drop 5/4 which is much more on curve. Each time his enrage trigger happens, you can make a 5/4 creature token that, when it deals damage, it gets sacrificed, so it's only around for one hit, but that's a lot. You can ignore his "die rolling" ability here. Great pair of winners!

Let's end my game-winners with Hungering Hydra. You can use this as a mana sink and grow it over time. For these threats that go big I added in Rogue's Passage and Whispersilk Cloak.

Let's turn to some ramp next.

Walking Atlas
Sakura-Tribe Scout

We are running some dorks that tap and drop a land from your hand to the battlefield in addition to traditional methods of ramp like Cultivate and Kodama's Reach. The Atlas can add to your ramping even if you don't draw Green mana. The Scout is a 1-drop 1/1 that can tap as well, and both fit into the infrastructure already built into the deck around the tapping Tims.

Budoka Gardener
Ranging Raptors

Check out my final tap-to-play-a-land effect in the Gardener. When you do this and control 10 or more lands you can flip it to Dokai and tap and make game-winning Elemental tokens. The Raptors can safely be pinged twice a turn to ramp, which is good card advantage. Nice tag team!

Let's look at some fun card drawing synergies next:

Light Up the Stage

We'll start with spectacle. Spectacle will let you cast a card for a cheaper cost if your foe lost life this turn, easy in this deck after tapping a Tim and aiming it at a foe. For one Red mana you can, until your next turn, play the top two cards, and if you cast one this turn that's a trigger of your Commander since you already played this sorcery. Exiling card flow works well with Elmar with its double cast since that's how you get the cards. And then you can untap a Tim and spend two mana to crack a Clue and draw a card.

Ripjaw Raptor

The Raptor is good and on curve. When it takes damage you draw a card. And that could be a ton of card drawing in this brew! Nicely done and ready to rock and roll.

Keen Sense
Snake Umbra

Check out this pair of uncommon mono-Green auras. Note that nowhere does Keen Sense read "combat" in front of "damage" so you can enchant Prodigal Pyromancer and friends and then tap it, shoot a foe, draw a card, and keep on keeping on. The latter one is three mana for a +1/+1 bump in size and the same ability to enchant a Tim and shoot for a card. Imagine this pair's power with Kumano! Then you can regenerate the Tim if it dies.


Let's start with the Basilisk Collar of Love. You equip a Tim, tap it on a foe's dork, and then slay away. It becomes a Build Your Own Visara the Dreadful. Tap and destroy. Don't sleep on the lifelink that it grants either and send it on your big 6/6 or 8/8 Hydra or Fungusaur and then gain a bunch of life, and then move it to Tim after combat. You can also kill multiple dorks a turn, by tapping, equipping on an untapped Tim, and then moving it.

Silverclad Ferocidons
Needletooth Raptor

Check out these two Red enragers. The rare is a bit pricey on the side with a 7-mana cost but an okay 8/5 body, and when it takes damage, each foe sacrifices a permanent, and if you layer it then that'll be a game ender as you force your foes to lose all of their stuff. The uncommon is a 4-drop 2/2 that, when shot, shoots an opposing dork for 5 damage which will clean out a ton of stuff. You can only use it once per turn, but that is a repeatable removal spell that can handle big effects quite ably.

Check out the modal card Spikefield Hazard, which doubles as a tapped land. I pulled a land slot for it since you can play a land tapped if it's needed. For a single mana you can, at instant speed, shoot a target for a damage, which can load up on your damage-based removal as well as taking out a 1-toughness dork and getting another trigger of a key dork in your deck. I think it's worth the land slot, how about you?

Green Dragon

Check out this powerful thang. It's an uncommon 4/4 flyer in Green, pretty unusual but good for swinging over foes. On the turn it arrives to the battlefield, if your foe's stuff takes damage, it gets destroyed! Use this to turn your Tims for the turn on your foe's and smash them for their destruction. Good stuff!


Thousand-Year Elixir

Check out these two synergetic cards. The Elixir will let you tap your Tims the turn they arrive to the battlefield as well as spend a mana to untap your Tim and tap it again for another enrage trigger. We need haste, badly, to allow our Tims to be used out of nowhere, and you can kill off the Incarnation to make that happen. Once it's in your graveyard, a Mountain controlled by you will give all of your stuff haste. This is the only thing that cares about being in the graveyard. I also have the haste giving lands of Hanweir Battlements and Flamekin Village here as well to give this more of a push.

Rite of Passage
Seedborn Muse

The Rite is a strong enchantment. As your stuff takes damage, it grows permanently by +1/+1 so it makes your entire team into Fungusaurs! Awesome stuff here. The Muse will let you untap your stuff during each other players turn, which is a Commander heavyweight, but here you can use it to untap your Tims and use them over and over again. Good stuff! Great cards!

Let's finish with three lands!

Balduvian Trading Post

The Trading Post is from a rare cycle of lands from Alliances that forced you to sacrifice an untapped land of that color on arrival but then gave you a nice boost. Two were (are in Commander) heavily played in Standard and kitchen table play: Kjeldoran Outpost and Lake of the Dead. This one taps for two mana and can tap for a mana to shoot an attacker for a damage, which can play keep away when twinned with other Tims.

I also run a bunch of dual lands to make sure you have the sacrificing option available. But the secret reason it's here is to attack with one of your targets, and then tap this and shoot it to get another trigger, like Polyraptor. Desert will tap for colorless and tap to shoot an attacking creature for damage at the end of the combat step, so again, it can tap to shoot an attacking dork of yours and get another damage in, as well as playing keep away from foes swinging your way with 1 toughness stuff like hate bears such as Aven Mindcensor or Thalia, Guardian of Thraben. Good pair!

Rath's Edge

Ah, yes. This colorless legendary card will require four mana to tap and sacrifice a land. Then you can shoot any target for a damage. If your foe controls a 5/5 flyer and you need to kill it when you control a Needletooth Raptor, you got it! Did you attack all out with your Polyraptors and need to make another to block that ground pounder that just swung your way? I got you! This is a great way to spend extra lands after you are all ramped out and ready to rock.

Let's do it to it!

Tims and Dinos | Commander | Abe Sargent

And there is my deck! So...what did you think? Did you enjoy me digging deeply into an ancient theme that's as old as the game is? Did you like its home with Elmar? Let me know in the comments below!

Commander HQ: Decklists and Strategy for Stranger Things' Legendary Creatures!

Limited time 30% buy trade in bonus buylist